The galaxy far, far away just keeps getting bigger thanks to Disney+, and one of the most highly-anticipated upcoming Star Wars projects is the live-action Ahsoka Tano series that will star Rosario Dawson. The character already has a rich animated history after her role in Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels, and The Mandalorian Season 2 revealed that she has an important mission on her mind after the fall of the Empire. So, do Star Wars fans need to go the extra mile and watch Rebels before Ahsoka? Ashley Eckstein, who has voiced the fan-favorite character in animated projects since 2008, weighed in with her thoughts.
Ahsoka’s reveal in The Mandalorian that she’s hunting Grand Admiral Thrawn was a thrill for pretty much any Star Wars fan who has heard that villain’s name, but Rebels viewers already knew all about her having reasons to chase Thrawn across the galaxy. Plus, announcements at the 2022 Star Wars Celebration event officially confirmed that Rebels character Sabine Wren will be part of the cast (with Natashia Liu Bordizzo landing the role), and others from the animated show are expected to appear as well.
Speaking with CinemaBlend ahead of the Her Universe Fashion Show at San Diego Comic-Con, Ashley Eckstein shared her perspective when asked if she would recommend watching Rebels ahead of Ahsoka:
In earlier years, shows like The Clone Wars and Rebels were more supplementary to the films rather than overlapping with them, with the exception of moments like Ashley Eckstein and another Rebels alum making voice cameos at the end of Star Wars - Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker. With the advent of the live-action shows that are expanding the Star Wars universe, the animated characters and storylines are essential for getting the full picture, and that’s especially true for Ahsoka.
After all, the very premise of the show makes it sound like a Rebels sequel series that happens to be in live-action, with Ahsoka hunting Thrawn. Ahsoka has had a part to play in two animated series and now two live-action series after appearing in The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett ahead of her solo series, and the animated background is already important. Eckstein continued:
I won’t delve into spoilers here for any who haven’t checked out Rebels yet, but the two-part Season 2 finale – called “Twilight of the Apprentice” – has always been a big part of why I recommend the series to viewers, whether or not they’ve already seen The Clone Wars. There’s even a moment involving Ahsoka that parallels a key moment between Obi-Wan and Vader in the Obi-Wan Kenobi series finale. When I noted that “Twilight of the Apprentice” is an incredibly cinematic finale, Eckstein responded:
The “Siege of Mandalore” arc as the finale of The Clone Wars was a very long time coming after the show’s initial cancellation before returning on Disney+, and Eckstein shared earlier this year that she thinks it “only gets better” for her the more times that she watches it. It was also the last chronological time that Ahsoka appeared in the saga until Rebels, where she would have a key role in establishing the Rebellion in the final years before the original trilogy. Ashley Eckstein continued:
The good news for any fans who still need to check out Star Wars Rebels is that there is still time, as Ahsoka isn’t slated to premiere until 2023. All four seasons are available streaming with a Disney+ subscription as well, along with all seven seasons of The Clone Wars. The next live-action Star Wars series on the way to Disney+ is Andor, the Rogue One prequel series starring Diego Luna that will debut on August 31.
Ashley Eckstein is also keeping busy, as she prepares to host the Her Universe Fashion Show in its long-awaited return to an in-person event at San Diego Comic-Con. RuPaul’s Drag Race alum Nina West will co-host with her on July 21. You can also check out Eckstein’s most recent Star Wars project with the Star Wars Mindful Matters series, available streaming for free now.
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Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).
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